Guitarist’s Tip: Busking with your iPhone

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 in Reviews, The web

There are a bunch of guitar chord & tab sites out there on the web, but usually you’re never near a computer when somebody hands you a guitar and wants you to play a song. Whilst there are a ton of iPhone guitar tuning and chord reference apps in the AppStore, there isn’t much in the way of apps for tabs or sheet music. Luckily there’s a few ways to get your favorite songs on your iPhone…

Songbook app

picture-35 Songbook (app store link) is is a free app that will read Chord Pro files and display them on your iPhone. Getting the files into the application can be a bit tricky, but once you have figured that out it does a decent job of displaying them. However: Most not all guitarist sites on the internet offer versions in the Chord Pro format, which slightly limits Songbook’s usefulness.

Convert to PDF

You can also just convert any old webpage to a PDF and email that to yourself. It’s workable, but leaves you with fairly tiny, illegible versions of your songs… not ideal either. is a site that basically works as an aggreator, crawling chord and tab versions of songs on other sites. What makes Chordie special is that it automatically detects chords within files and can then also do clever things such as transposing songs for different vocal ranges or instruments. It displays chord charts for all the chords used in a song and also features an auto-scroll mode.


On your iPhone the site will be displayed in a great, touch-friendly format and a tap on a song will start and stop the auto-scroll feature. You can also create a free account on the site and strore your favorite songs in your personal Songbook, making it easy to access songs with just a few taps.


Personally I’ve found easily the best way to access chord and tab files from my iPhone. The main drawback is that it requires you to have an internet connection, so the other solutions might come in useful from time to time as well, but Chordie is highly recommended!



  1. There are as you say many guitar related apps out there for the iphone. I recently got myself a guitar one which was simply a guitar fret board and you just strum whilst changing the chord – its amazing! For anyone whom doesn’t know, the chordie site is without doubt the best out there and has every guitar tab you could ever want. Great site by the way!

  2. I also found an awesome guitar app for iPad called Guitar Free, that allows for any chord to be played and even comes with some tutorial tunes to test it out with. I tried out Songbook which is also an excellent app choice. Can’t wait to try out Chordie. Thanks for the great article.

  3. Is Songbook available for Android? I can’t seem to find it.


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